Life can be a complicated and mucky road for those of us who haven’t been handed the blueprints to a successful, emotionally robust, and mentally competent existence. I myself have stumbled over and over again at all the wrong places: from relationships, to work, to discovering fun cerebral activities like anxiety and self-doubt.
And so, in an effort to demystify and make sense of my existence, I meditate. That’s right. At least several times a week you can find me sitting awkwardly and with poor posture on my little zafu cushion in the living room of our tiny Boston apartment.
A typical session includes just me and the back of my eyelids. Nothing but darkness and a thousand incredibly silly thoughts scampering around the inside of my head like a lottery ball machine losing control. My legs ache. My butt becomes insufferably numb. And I do my best not to think about how great it would be to play with my iPhone and scarf hummus while lounging on the couch. And by hummus I, of course, mean Doritos.
And such was life up until I was accidentally introduced to a television show called Vanderpump Rules.
One lazy Saturday afternoon, I randomly and quite casually plopped down on my zafu while my wife was cuddled up, mid-TiVo-binge, watching her Bravo TV shows. I didn’t think much of it at the time.
For some reason, despite my inexperience, or maybe because of it, I thought I could have a quick spiritual sesh even though the TV was on. Little did I know that Vanderpump Rules would, in less than a minute, beat my wandering mind into full submission. Strangle it, in fact.
In a nutshell, the premise focuses on the renowned reality star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Lisa Vanderpump, and her troupe of befuddled hostesses, bussers, waitresses, and bartenders who work at SUR — which stands for Sexy Unique Restaurant. Yes, you read that correctly. And so I sat.
And listened some more.
The whole damn show is hypnotic. I never stood a chance. This happened more than once. Each time I willingly sat on the zafu during a new episode some part of me knew what was going to happen. I was hooked.
The women are good-looking in an L.A. sort of way. They chase dreams and a steady relationship. They spend their time wearing outfits and holding roundtables with their besties and sometimes non-besties to discuss what other people are doing and saying about them. They party and work hardish, cajole their friends during hard times when hearsay is afoot, and the rivers run thick with rumors and ill-intended secrets.
The men are bros and spend plenty of time making sure their hair looks awesome. And it does. Another thing, they don’t often button their shirts all the way up. And I don’t mean the top, top button. I mean, they leave several buttons unbuttoned. Why? Why would someone do that? I know of ONE person who does this at my office, and I have unabashedly told everyone I know about this phenomenon. You need to button buttons. Of this, I am pretty sure.
In summary, here are the six big takeaways I learned while trying to meditate through what might possibly have been several seasons of Vanderpump Rules:
1. Tear all meaningful relationships to shreds, no matter what the cost.
I’ve been doing relationships wrong ALL THIS TIME. I’m a 33-year-old man and apparently I haven’t been doing anything right. What I learned is that relationships are fluid, and more importantly, interchangeable. It’s actually much healthier to create drama where none exists, so as to tear the foundation of solid friendships apart at the seam. When this occurs, about every two years, replace your best friends with your greatest enemies. Repeat this process until you die of old age.
2. You should always have people you consider enemies.
As an adult, it never occurred to me that I should have enemies. But you see, having enemies, or, at least, one solid big enemy is actually very healthy. These people prevent you from living the life you deserve, and act only in their best interest, plotting and considering always the best and most efficient ways to destroy you completely. An enemy keeps you on your toes and makes you stronger.
3. Always lie. Always and forever.
Let’s say you tell a woman that you want to sleep with her, but you do, in fact, have a girlfriend. It’s okay. This is actually the right way to go about things. You can just lie. Lie, lie, lie! To everyone. It’s the easiest thing in the world. And you never, ever have to own up to it, even when there is video footage of you lying. When confronted by the girlfriend or anyone else for that matter, all you have to do is keep lying. Do you understand? It really is that easy!
4. If it’s your birthday, God has granted you permission to do anything you want.
On your birthday, you are allowed to do absolutely anything you want. And nobody, and I mean NOBODY, is allowed to mess that shit up. You should, however, be prepared for everything to go horribly, horribly wrong. In fact, a grand, expensive birthday party is really just a fancy venue for three or more of your besties and non-besties to get drunk and throw things at each other, subsequently taking the attention you so desperately deserve and placing it elsewhere.
5. Always, and I mean ALWAYS, take care of them eyebrows.
Male or female, it matters not. Unwanted body hair (and most body hair is unwanted) should be obliterated beyond anything you once thought was appropriate. So get off your lazy butt, and take care of yourself. It’s called hygiene you filthy animal.
6. Take vacations to exotic locations with close friends who are guaranteed to make your life miserable.
Take semi-frequent vacations to exotic locations and invite your friends, your enemies, your former friends, and people you know just a little bit and aren’t sure why they’re even there. Let’s be honest, a vacation is not a vacation until you feel bubbling, searing hatred for at least three other people in your life, and this is the formula to get you there.
So in closing, I still believe meditation is very important. And somehow, I’ve learned that the real point of the whole thing isn’t to sit there hoping for all those silly thoughts to evaporate into the vast ether. It’s impossible.
The point is to breathe and to pay attention to your breathing. To, as they say, return to the breath. But now, I know I have no choice but to also return to Vanderpump Rules, over and over again. The lessons I learned while attempting to meditate during the show are invaluable. And as Lisa Vanderpump is undoubtedly the guru for her troupe of misfits trying to find their place in the world, perhaps the show itself can be my guru, guiding me toward a better way of life. It is, after all, reality.